Tuesday media watch [23.07.13 AM]: Lambert challenges Benteke
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert has challenged Christian Benteke to keep his Villa success story rolling after thanking the Villa board for helping to hold on to last season's top scorer. The Belgian striker has an outside chance of featuring in tonight's friendly at Luton but is more likely to get his first action of the summer in Friday's trip to Crewe. Lambert is keen for Benteke to focus fully on the claret and blues after withdrawing his transfer request and signing a bumper four-year deal last Friday. It is understood there is no release clause in the new contract meaning Villa can again set their own price if Benteke is the subject of fresh interest between now and 2017.
Daily Mail: Aston Villa have pulled off a major coup by keeping a release clause out of Christian Benteke's bumper new contract. The Birmingham club persuaded the Belgian forward to sign a four-year deal late last week after talks between manager Paul Lambert and the player. Villa had placed a £25m valuation on the head of the forward to ward off interest from Tottenham. Benteke handed in a transfer request on the back if that in the hope of securing a move to White Hart Lane. When it failed to materialise, an hour-long meeting with Lambert, allied to some quick decision-making and action by owner Randy Lerner and chief executive Paul Faulkner, ended with the player making a spectacular U-turn. Benteke secured a whopping pay rise, lifting his wages beyond the £2.5m-a-year mark as he became the eighth player to earn himself a new deal. Now it seems Villa have negotiated a contract that does not include any release clause.
Express & Star: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert today hailed the club for backing him to the hilt in both recruiting players and keeping hold of their key men by handing them new contracts. The number 13 may be unlucky for some but that's not the case with Villa right now, with six players signed and seven putting pen to paper on long-term deals over the summer. Star striker Christian Benteke's decision to withdraw his transfer request and sign a new double-your-money four-year contract last Friday is considered the most significant boost. Club owner Randy Lerner has splashed the cash and chief executive Paul Faulkner has been hard at work behind-the-scenes as Lambert looks to build for his second season in charge.
Birmingham Mail: When Paul Lambert throws Christian Benteke to the Lions, by reuniting Benteke with the claret and blue public in his first pre-season friendly, it will be heartening to know they will adore rather than devour him. The timing of the turnaround, just a day after Benteke reported back to Bodymoor Heath last week, was crucial in prompting Christian forgiveness from the Villa supporters.
Daily Star: Paul Lambert is on a mission to slash £1m a month off Aston Villa's wage bill. Lambert has set his sights on offloading his misfit big-money players. The Villa boss has also brought in six new players and persuaded six more of his youngsters to sign new long-term deals. Now Lambert's busily trying to make sure his costly group of high-earning wantaway stars are less of a burden. The Sun: Martin Jol is eyeing a triple swoop to help Fulham break into the top 10. Aston Villa striker Darren Bent is on Jol's list as is West Brom forward Peter Odemwingie and 23-year-old midfielder Mohammed Rabiu of French club Evian. Boss Jol said: "We're still looking for one or two players to make it 100%."
Daily Express: Aston Villa's plans have been hit after key forward Andreas Weimann was ruled out for two weeks with a hip problem. The Austrian will miss today's trip to Luton and Friday's match at Crewe.
Glasgow Times: Scotland star Alan Hutton has revealed he is enjoying football once again as he gets set to complete his move to Spanish Second Division side Real Mallorca. The former Rangers and Tottenham full-back enjoyed a successful period on loan in La Liga last season at the Palma club, even though it ended up in relegation. But he was always keen to return and will negotiate a free transfer after a nightmare spell at Aston Villa. Hutton still had a year left of his Villa deal, but boss Paul Lambert told him he was free to find a new club. And he will celebrate being named in the Scotland squad to face England at Wembley yesterday by signing a two-year deal with the Spanish club. Hutton has stated how happy he has found life and football in Spain.
The Times: Alan Hutton, the right-back, is set to complete a permanent move to Real Mallorca from Aston Villa.
Birmingham Mail: Aston Villa have tweeted a picture of their present for their latest royal supporter after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced the arrival of their baby son. The replica Villa strip has 'HRH 1' printed on the back, the club sent the message: 'Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Another Villa fan arrives into the world!' The club's website added: 'The Duke is a huge Villa fan and it is hoped that his new son will be brought up in the claret and blue tradition. 'As a birthday present, Villa chiefs have sent the 8lbs 6oz tot a new kit with the appropriate letters 'HRH' and the number '1' on the back.'
ITV Sport: Aston Villa are hoping this is one of the first outfits to be hung up in the Royal baby's wardrobe. They have sent a home Villa kit to Prince William, who is a Villa fan, as a gift following the birth of his first son yesterday. Prince Charles visited Villa in 2001 to open the Trinity Stand and told reporters he was under orders to buy a pair of Villa socks for Prince William.
Daily Mail: Aston Villa have been quick to jump on the Royal baby bandwagon by sending the happy couple a mini kit for their newborn son. The Duke of Cambridge is a Villa fan and the club hope his new son, who was born on Monday afternoon will follow the claret and blue traditions of his father. Villa chiefs have sent the 8lbs 6oz baby a new kit with the appropriate letters 'HRH' and the number '1' on the back.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.